The big antenna in St. John B.C. - A bit of history.

Note: Pat now has a new QTH

Up the tower was VE7EQF (Ernie) and VE7PRG (Roger) at first. Roger was spelled off by (VE7EQU) Andy when the last section and antennas were raised. On hand was VE7CCP (Vic), VE6KNH (Ken), VE7PPR (Percy), VE7VBC (Brian), VE7VDC (Daniel), VE7EQC (Allan), VE7DTM (Bill), and numerous onlookers wondering what was going on.

The day started out party cloudy with some sunny breaks. Once the first person VE7EQF (Ernie) was strapped in at the top of the tower, it began to rain so hard it almost hurt. It just poured out. Then it cleared and a 10 foot section was installed on the first 60 feet. Then it poured again as we were starting to rig the last section with the antennas attached. Bob Fedderly the crane operator kept on asking "Are you telling me this is just all for a hobby?" Radio communications were established between Bob in the crane and the fellows at the top via a couple of wireless headsets. Only problem is VE7PRG (Roger) was the one with the headset at the top of the tower. He pretty well talked Bob's ear off.

Nearing the finish, the last section with the antennas and rotor etc. was on its way upward with Bob's careful and skilled hand on the controls of the crane. Bob is one smooth operator and it sure made the job easier. As the payload was about half way up the tower we had another down pour and the guys on the tower (Andy and Ernie at this time) had another shower. There was numerous offers of sending up some soap and shampoo so they could make their idle time productive.

The payload almost level to the top of the tower the warning buzzer went off in the crane indicating we had about 6 feet of cable left. But Bob eased everything into the waiting arms of VE7EQF (Ernie) and VE7EQU (Andy) with about a foot to spare. Whew! Really didn't want to have to go back and get the gib for the boom of the crane which would extend the cranes reach to 160 feet. Then all heads cracked to the west as we heard thunder and could see the lightning off in the distance. The real worry here was the crane. The guys could come down off of the tower, but now the top section was partly bolted in, and Bob our man with his hands on the crane controls was starting to get a little nervious. A good lightning hit on the boom of the crane could take out the hydralics for both the boom and the stabilizers. Finally the last bolt was in place. The thunder storm was only a couple miles away now. Then a scramble up to top of the tower to unhook the cable and Bob brought the boom in and secured the crane. We all helped Bob pack up the crane and decided it was time for a lunch break. Soaked to the bone we headed down to a local resturant where they gazed apon us as if we were from some other planet. While we were consuming our meals with lots of hot drinks for all, we gazed out at the incredable light show outside as the thunder storm passed over.

After consuming our fill and the thunder storm had passed, VE7EQF (Ernie) once again scaled the tower and we roped up the feed lines. Tested the SWR on the tri-bander and the 6 meter yagi and all looked well. Finally the antenna and rotor cable were secured to the tower on Ernie's trip back down the tower. It started to rain again, but VE7AGJ was now on the air.

A year later I think we have Bob convinced that this is really a hobby, and it was really all good fun. The installation is an excellent performer.


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